D.C. United is finalizing paperwork to acquire 20-year-old forward Rafael on a one-year loan from Brazilian club EC Bahia, which on Thursday announced an agreement had been reached. United officials did not want to comment, but sources familiar with the talks said the deal is in the late stages and should be completed by next week.
Rafael, a prospect in Bahia’s system, is not the marquee striker United has been seeking in Latin America but would add frontline depth in the wake of Maicon Santos‘s move to the Chicago Fire and Josh Wolff‘s retirement.
United has also been attempting to extend the loan on another young Brazilian, central midfielder Raphael Augusto, 21, who arrived from Fluminense late last season and made two playoff appearances.
*United seems likely to have at least two players at U.S. national team training camp at Home Depot Center near Los Angeles starting Monday. Juergen Klinsmann will name the roster in a few days. D.C.’s candidates include goalkeeper Bill Hamid, and midfielders Chris Pontius and Perry Kitchen.
With most European- and Mexican-based regulars unavailable, the camp is designed primarily for MLS players. Klinsmann had planned to start workouts Jan. 14 but added a week on the front end to provide more time with the group. The session will end with a friendly against Canada on Jan. 29 at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium.
First-choice players will report to Miami about five days later and join perhaps a few camp holdovers to begin preparations for the World Cup qualifier at Honduras on Feb. 6.
*United will begin gathering for training camp in Washington on Jan. 17, the same day as the MLS draft in Indianapolis. Three days later, D.C. will move operations to Bradenton, Fla., and face Swedish club Malmo on Feb. 1 at IMG Academies. The bulk of preseason will be held in the Orlando area Feb. 7-23, with four tournament matches.
*On a lighter note, for a feature by colleague Kathy Orton that will appear in The Washington Post’s Sunday magazine this weekend, United Coach Ben Olsen discusses his family’s decision to live in the heart of the city.
*In NASL news, the club launching in Loudoun County, Virginia in 2014 has narrowed its nickname candidates to three finalists: Cavalry, Dominion, Stallions. Details here.